YANDE SYAMPEYO, Lusaka
THE Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has urged Government to revoke work permits of expatriates in mining firms which resort to retrenching workers each time they face operational challenges.
ZCTU general secretary Cosmas Mukuka said Government should get tough and re-examine employment permits of mine owners who frustrate Zambians to the benefit of expatriates.
Mr Mukuka said in an interview that Government and the labour movement should not allow the retrenchment of over 4,000 workers at Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) due to the restriction of power at the mining firm by Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC).
“Our appeal to Government is to clean the house and look at cancelling employment permits for these people who have come to squat and draw plans to retrench the workers.
“They have come with a workforce from their countries which they do not want to retrench. These are some of the things that Government needs to be tough on when signing business contracts with these mining companies,” he said.
Mr Mukuka said that if MCM retrenches miners, Government should react aggressively to safeguard the jobs of miners and their families.
“We can have Zambians running their mines and maybe they can be sympathetic to the employment welfare because they are not respecting our feelings,” he said.
And the union has welcomed Government’s policy directive on mandatory HIV testing but advised the state to develop a budget line for effective implementation.
Mr Mukuka said there is need for government to invest heavily in sensitisation and counselling for the policy to succeed.
He said it would be difficult for government to execute the programme without expenditure.
“The absence of counselling and education services might result in a situation where society will still be affected psychologically.
“But mostly when such things come, we rely much on donor support and at the moment donors pull out, we find ourselves in the problem, so we expect the Ministry of Health and charitable organisations to fund projects,” he said.
Mr Mukuka has since called for the involvement of leaders at all levels for the policy to be successfully implemented.